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Jazz at Naz: Rising star Samara Joy and LA’s beloved Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

by Reggie Quinerly / Jazz at Naz Virtual Host

(March 26th)There is so much richness in simplicity. This is made obvious in the pairing of Samara Joy and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, two world-class talents known for their unique brand of style and delivery. When they grace the stage of The Soraya, audiences will be reminded of just how luxurious it is when great songs are masterfully arranged, expertly played, and exquisitely sung.

Vocalist, Samara Joy approaches her art with a simmering energy that compels listeners to slow down and savor each moment. As such, her most recent release “Linger Awhile,” feels like an aptly named antidote to the immediacy we’ve been conditioned to crave in this digital age. From start to end, she confidently exudes a pristine vocal quality that can instantaneously shift from subtle to reverberant - without sacrificing an ounce of elegance or control.

Samara Joy possesses a style that is as deep and dynamic as the sounds, rhythms, and cultures of her native borough - The Bronx, NY. Raised in a musical household, her earliest influences came from family members who were performers and exposed her to Gospel, Soul, and the music of Motown. During her formative teen years, a blossoming interest in Jazz, and classic voices of the genre emerged. This led her to seek out mentors who provided her with invaluable experience and helped her realized the true magnitude of her talent.

The 23-year-old is a first time-nominee for two prestigious GRAMMY Awards at the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards®—Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album for her album “Linger Awhile,” released in September 2022. Listen to the album, and her latest single with American Jazz Pianist Gerald Clayton, on The Soraya’s Spotify playlist. Click here to listen. While the March 26 performance at The Soraya will be Samara Joy’s first collaboration with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the synergy between their respective styles makes this a match made in musical brilliance. For close to forty years, this West Coast-based big band has swung with a sense of dedication and authority that places them in a truly rarified category. The ensemble has released at least a dozen recordings and amassed a large trove of road-tested charts. The core of this band is comradery. Over the years of one-nighters and tours, their longstanding relationships have risen to level familial bonds. Current co-leaders, Jeff Hamilton (drummer) and John Clayton (arranger/bassist) have a personal relationship that extends back to the mid 1970’s when they were members of the pianist Monty Alexander’s trio. Since those initial interactions they have risen to be recognized as two of the most in-demand artists on the scene. In addition to being mainstays on the reader polls of various publications, they have constantly supported the best and brightest of the business, individually and collectively. The accolades include GRAMMY Awards, composition commissions and constant invitations to lead workshops and clinics for musicians across the world. When Samara Joy and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra take the stage audiences can expect propulsive swing and sophisticated comfort topped with a side of soulful panache.


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